American Woodworker

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Oops! Flying Sawdust


Oops! Flying Sawdust

Last summer, due to the heat, I covered my portable saw with a canvas tarp and retreated to the cooler air inside my basement shop. The saw sat under the canvas for two months, until I needed to cut some boards that were too long and unwieldy to maneuver in my basement shop.

I uncovered the saw and set up infeed and outfeed tables to handle the boards. I pushed the start button and my trusty saw sprang into action. Clouds of sawdust billowed out, which seemed odd, because I hadn’t started cutting. Then I noticed the dust was black and yellow…and buzzing.

A swarm of enraged wasps boiled from under the saw. Dropping the board I was about to cut, I beat a hasty retreat. I didn’t stop running until I reached the fuse box at the far end of my shop, where I turned off the saw’s power.

My wife happened to look out the kitchen window just as I was high-tailing it toward my shop. Upon hearing my story, she laughed until she cried. “I’ve never seen you run so fast,” she sobbed.